In order to register your trademark within South Africa you will be required to apply to the CIPC – Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, for official trademark registration rights. However this process can be facilitated by using the services of a professional consultancy firm or an attorney, thus making the process easier to understand and quicker overall. It should be noted that there are a number of requirements for a trademark to satisfy prior to obtaining registration.
How to register a South Africa Trademark
The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) is responsible for reviewing trademark registration applications and deciding on whether to approve or reject each application based on the validity of the mark.
Provided a South Africa trademark can be represented graphically and is one of, or a combination of; words, letters, shapes, names, designs or colors, it can be considered a trademark by nature. It is an additional requirement that the trademark is unique and available to use – that means the marks cannot already be registered or used commercial representing a similar product or service.
One of the most important aspects of a South Africa trademark is that it cannot confuse or offend the public in anyway. Where the mark confuses the public as to who the original source is, this could be a case of passing off under trademark law and remedies can therefore be sought.
The main reason to register your mark in South Africa is if you intend to use the trademark in a commercial capacity and you wish to protect your rights from infringement and passing off. Where your trademark represents your brand identity and customer loyalty, it is even more important to obtain a set of exclusive rights over the trademark to protect it from unauthorized use by third parties.
South Africa trademarks maintain their exclusive rights of use for a period of 10 years from the date of registration and where the owner of the mark wishes to carry on their exclusive rights after the 10 year period is up, they are required to seek renewal 6 months prior to the expiration date.
View our South Africa Trademark services page to get started.